Skip to main content

Reply to this post | Go Back
View Post [edit]

Poster: DeadATL Date: Nov 30, 2011 5:05am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: When did you know?

For those of you who went to a lot of shows, at what point could you tell whether or not the band was “on?” Was it obvious immediately in the first set if they were going to have poor or mediocre performance?

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: leftwinger57 Date: Nov 30, 2011 6:53am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When did you know?

It was pretty easy for me .Usually by the fourth or fifth song first set,if they had no energy,the sound was beyond terrible and it seemed like there was more time spent w/ tuning then actual playing.I do not have a date for this show but it was before the hiatus and I left before the second set I knew it wasn't going to get any better and from all acounts it never did.This why I've said from my very first post that when they're good they are the best at what they do but when they're bad they are horrible.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Nov 30, 2011 5:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When did you know?

Hard to say. If a first set started shakey, there was always the chance that it would end strong. And if the first set did end strong, there was no guarantee that the second set would continue that same energy. The reverse also seemed to be true: if the 1st was sub-par start to finish, the 2nd set could still turn out strong. This "one set on, one set off" seemed to happen more and more as the years wore on. Some nights the band found the groove right away and then seemed to lose it by the end of the night, while other times it happened in reverse. Now, many shows I saw later on were strong throughout, but the clunkers definitely increased in number.

This is from my impression only of course.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: dark.starz Date: Nov 30, 2011 6:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When did you know?

Shows were mostly "all good" in the 70's as long as you were tuned, had a comfortable seat/location and were open to the possibilities with a positive state of mind.

The uninspired or flat out bumpy flight performances didn't appear until the early 80's and there were several factors that influenced your experience on any given afternoon or evening.

The drug culture of the 80's changed the dynamic at shows. From the stage into the audience shows became more of an event than a concert; meaning that you could have a great time regardless of the performance as long as you tuned properly, except for when the powder turned to crackbase @ 1984 - 1986 and that was flat out a sick period.

Enter 1987 and the dynamic evolved back to the performance and frankly after Jerrys fall we all became show critics attempting to guess the next tune before the tunings gave it away.

I've stated this before, first sets were mostly rehersals for the Dead, the second set was the true offering of the evening and some nights things clicked and other times not.

None of us are perfect except for the universe.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: RBNW....new and improved! Date: Nov 30, 2011 7:06am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When did you know?

This "one set on, one set off" seemed to happen more and more as the years wore on. .....so true!

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Nov 30, 2011 7:14am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When did you know?

This inconsistency certainly made me learn to appreciate the strong shows (no matter how infrequent they might have been) all the more. I think it was that element of the unknown that was part of the magic. "Will they suck balls tonight?", "Will Jerr run out of gas halfway through Me And My Uncle?", "Will Jerr rip out our hearts and make us like it (eg. see Richmond 85 second set)?"
Some might say it was like playing the Lotto: if you lost, no big deal you still had fun; but if you won, holy crap, that was a great day. Others will say seeing the later years Dead was like playing Russian Roulette with a six-shooter loaded with 5 bullets.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Nov 30, 2011 7:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When did you know?

As context, my first show was 7/8/90.

That said, I don't think there was any magic formula for sensing whether a show was going to soar or not. Much of the first set at that 7/8/90, for example, was kind of ordinary, but Let It Grow was really fantastic. If I had to make a general rule about this, then I'd say look to the last couple songs of the first set -- the big first set jams: Bird Song, Let it Grow, whatever (depending on the era) -- to get a sense of how the second set's going to be.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: ColdRain108 Date: Nov 30, 2011 9:50am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When did you know?

200+ shows and it was all over the place. I witnessed throw away first sets followed by mind boggling second sets. I witnessed the first two songs of a show blowing the doors off and then the rest of the show being a complete let down. I saw the break-out of Box of Rain in '86 and it was one of the highest moments of my Dead career and then the second set that followed was about the worst I can remember.

I never left a show early, ever, as I knew one song could turn it all around. I saw great shows at just about any venue and I saw lame shows at just about any venue. Same thing coast to coast and all points in between.

My statistical estimation of my approximate 200 shows is: 50 mind blowing, life changing shows, 100 great Dead shows and 50 lacking shows.

Drugs had nothing to do with it, actually being tripped out and being subjected to a bad show caused me severe anguish...sometimes for days after.

I also noticed that two people standing right next to each other, both high on the same substance, could each have completely different takes on what just happened.

If the sound was bad you were likely in for a long night regardless of the playing.

Finally, what you hear on "tape" is 1/10000000000 of what really happened. I use recordings to verify what I thought happened. I have found that many years later a show I thought was lame when it happened was actually pretty damn good but rarely vis-versa...

This post was modified by Little Sense on 2011-11-30 17:50:43

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: Edsel Date: Dec 1, 2011 8:34am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When did you know?

Your screen name is misleading, sounds like a lot of sense to me.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Nov 30, 2011 6:00am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When did you know?

I don't ever remember thinking "Oh man, this is going to be a shitty night" during the first set. I usually held out hope they'd get it together before the night was out- maybe the next song or the next set would be better. That said, even most of the better shows I saw had some unsteady moments. Only a handful were strong from the opener to the encore.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: boat man Date: Nov 30, 2011 11:54am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When did you know?

I think it just went moment by moment.
What was "on" to one might be "off" to another.
If you were ever in doubt, however, all you had to do was look at the boys; you could tell when they were having fun.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: lobster12 Date: Dec 1, 2011 8:08am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When did you know?

I agree with the wait and see angle. I also would throw Healy in that mix - no pun intended. There were many times when the band opened with a Shakedown and that guy was still doing a sound check. Or times when the volume was way too low. I'm thinking, " maybe the band might be off tonight" when in fact it was healy getting his shi* together.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: vapors Date: Nov 30, 2011 6:39am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When did you know?

I didn't really find out until I came here, all these years later... . :)

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 30, 2011 7:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When did you know?

Ha! Best post of the day!

Yes, even though I give a very different impression, as I droned on about with SDH some time back, in the 70s, I thought they were very consistent...one night to the next, of a run, and certainly "within a night". I had that nagging feeling that they weren't what I expected (again, I came to it expecting the band of 70-72, that I knew so well from recordings and bootlegs), but I never thought "that sucked!" or "this is much better than the first set".

I thought it was all good.

However, the one thing that has been mentioned by others here the past wk or so, which reinforced the "hmmm, do I have it 'right' telling everyone I meet that the DEAD are the BEST...cause I just saw the ABB, or even MTB + Outlaws, and was much more energized during that show...okay, nevermind that; the DEAD are great, the DEAD are great" which was just a very personal thing with me at the time.

It was much later, HERE, that I had the time to review, and decided, "damn, I think they were better earlier--I got cheated" (due to my age alone), and yes, when asked "which five concerts were the most fun you've had?", I, unlike Bill Walton, never thought/think of a DEAD show.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Nov 30, 2011 7:43am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When did you know?

Droned on about? I'd have to say that is quite a generous review of any of our exchanges.

As to your point, I'd have to say that strictly in terms of the music/performance I have seen shows by other artists that were much more "energetic" start to finish, as you put it. Floyd, Queensryche, Stones, Who, hell even Cheap Trick in 83 come to mind. But in terms of the overall experience, or that one "moment", no one holds a candle to the Dead that I saw.

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: William Tell Date: Nov 30, 2011 7:51am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When did you know?

Here's another aspect to the diff's with my vs your experiences: imagine coming to a show and expecting the S&R play list, and you get Blues for Allah or the MELODRAMA of Terrapin Station? That shit really left me wondering: "is this the band I thought I knew?"

After the mid 70s, post hiatus comeback, I suppose they dropped those and returned to new, but more traditional (?) set lists?

I will say that shows like 9-28-75 were more "standard", setlist wise, and no doubt I recall those with fonder memories as a result...

Reply to this post
Reply [edit]

Poster: SomeDarkHollow Date: Nov 30, 2011 7:57am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: When did you know?

Hell, I learned to lower my expections over time. By the end of my time seeing them a great show wasn't measured so much by the songs they DID play, but rather the ones they DIDN'T. Say, the minute I heard the opening notes of Touch, I died a little inside.